UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN

 

SENATUS ACADEMICUS

 

Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 8 October 2003

 

 

Present:               Principal, Professors Sewel, Houlihan, Dr JG Roberts, Professors Logan, Rodger,  MacGregor, Hubbuck, Sleeman, Baker, Jolliffe, Buckland, Macinnes, Webster, Jordan, Chandler, Bryden, Graham, Howe, Player, Saunders, Beaumont, Mitchell, Ditchburn, Secombes, Dr B Fennell, Ms C Macaslan, Dr P Kinnear, Dr J Murdoch, Ms D McKenzie-Skene, Dr W Long, Dr A Clarke, Mr I Stefanov, Professors Adams, Archbold, Mr W Brotherstone, Ms L Clark, Dr G Coghill, Dr IG Craw, Professors Duff, Hotson, Lurie, Salmon, Dr P Edwards, Dr J Farmer, Dr C Gray, Dr D Heddle, Dr M Holmes, Mrs B Hookey, Dr D Inglis, Dr J King, Dr X Lambin, Dr J MacDowall, Dr D MacPhee, Dr M Masson, Dr A Memon, Dr D Pearson, Dr L Philip, Dr J Skakle, Mr S Styles, Dr S Townsend, Dr M White, Dr N Dower, Ms J Duncan, Mr J Dunphy, Mr D Cockburn, Mr G Humphries, Ms N Drennan, Professor S Kunin with Mr D Donaldson in attendance.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Professors Lyall, Templeton, Thomson, Forte, Bruce, Sharp, Little, Flin, Ms R Buchan, Ms M Ramsay, Professors Burgess, Urwin, Dr P Benson, Professors Blaikie, Gow, Dr S Lawrie, Dr J Liversidge, Dr D Reid, Dr D Hay, Dr A Hull, Dr W MacCausland, Dr A Mordue, Dr J Ollason, Mrs M Ross, Dr M Syrontinski and Ms D White.

 

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

763.     The minutes of the meeting held on 18 June and of the In Absentia and In Person Graduation

Graduation Ceremonies held between 7 and 16 July 2003 were approved.

 

 

STATEMENT BY PRINCIPAL

 

764.1   In opening the meeting, the Principal extended his congratulations to Professor Steve Bruce on his election as a Fellow of the British Academy and Senate agreed that the Principal should convey Senate’s congratulations to Professor Bruce on this achievement.

 

764.2   The Principal then reported that, generally, the admission and registration of new students at the start of the new academic year had been very favourable.  Whilst this reflected the tremendous efforts of a range of staff involved with recruitment and admissions, the Principal extended his congratulations to all academic staff as, ultimately, the quality of the University’s academic programmes and its staff were a determining factor in applicants deciding to accept the University’s offer of admission.  While the overall picture was favourable, there was room for improving the recruitment of research students to the University, which was a general area of concern for many Universities.  The Principal then invited Professor Houlihan to provide Senate with a preliminary, oral, report on admissions and registrations as at 4 October 2003.

 

764.3            Professor Houlihan echoed the Principal’s comments that the overall picture was, indeed, very favourable, with full-time fundable first degree students exceeding target by between 25 and 30, with a further increase of 25 admissions of overseas students to first degrees.  The overall picture for part-time admissions was on target, with Socrates/Erasmus admissions offsetting under recruitment in part-time degree students.  Admission targets for the PGCE Primary and Secondary programmes had also been met, with the former achieving an increased target for this year. 

 

764.4   On the postgraduate front, Professor Houlihan reported that overseas taught postgraduate students numbers had been maintained overall, which demonstrated the continued attractiveness of the University’s taught Masters programmes, although there had been variability between admissions to individual programmes compared with expectations.  Although the registration of research students had only commenced on 1 October, predictions were that numbers would be slightly below target.

 

764.5   In summary, Professor Houlihan reported that the University’s strategy in professionalising the recruitment service had again proved successful, with the Open Days and other visits contributing to the success in convincing a higher percentage of applicants to place Aberdeen as their first choice of University.  The success of the strategy was also apparent during Clearing, when the University was able to fill the few remaining MA places by the end of the first week, although the University had continued to admit to the BSc (Pure Science) degree throughout Clearing.  He reported that the next admissions cycle had commenced and that it was hoped that the University’s total population would allow the University to set slightly lower targets for home students.  Efforts would also be made to raise the entry standard of students in future.  Professor Houlihan concluded by indicating that the Admissions Report would be submitted to the next meeting of Senate once the initial registration period had ended.

 

764.6   In concluding his statement, and as an introduction to the next item, the Principal indicated that he had gained the impression that the implementation of the new academic structures, with the establishment of Colleges from 1 August 2003, had progressed smoothly and that colleagues were adapting to the new structures, which he was convinced would be beneficial to the University.  The Principal highlighted that the University’s commitment to investing in the new structures and a recent press report that the University was seeking to recruit 200 or more posts should not be misinterpreted.  While new posts would be created and some of the investment would be used to ensure that the University attracted academic staff of the calibre required to allow the University to achieve its aspirations in terms of the next research assessment exercise, many of the 200 or so vacancies would have arisen naturally over the course of the next three years; and some of the funds identified by the University Court for restructuring would enable staff to secure attractive early retirement packages, which would provide the University with the flexibility that it required at this stage.  The Principal then invited Professor Sewel to introduce the paper on College structures.   

 

PROPOSALS FOR COLLEGE AND SUB-COLLEGE STRUCTURES

 

765.1In introducing the proposals for College and Sub-College structures that had been circulated to members, Professor Sewel formally moved the adoption of the Draft Resolution to approve the reform of academic structures, which had been appended to the paper.

 

765.2            Professor Sewel indicated that, in approving the outline proposal at its last meeting, Senate had agreed that Schools would remain the basic operational academic unit to which staff would be assigned and that Schools would remain the basic form of budgetary grouping.  He confirmed that the proposals that had been placed before Senate had arisen very much out of discussion and consultation within, and between, Colleges since the last meeting of Senate and that they suggested coherent structures but with a degree of flexibility.  He outlined the main features of the internal governance of Colleges, and reported that some Colleges would seek to appoint Directors of Research and of Teaching and Learning, but who would not have executive responsibility: the line management arrangements would be that staff within Schools would report to the Head of School, who would report to the Head of College.  All Colleges would have strong and effective administrative support to allow academics, generally, not to be involved with administration but to lead and manage, as well as undertaking their academic activities, with administration being undertaken by professional administrators as far as possible.  Professor Sewel therefore commended the proposals to the Senate and invited discussion.

 

 

 

 

765.3   During the discussion that followed, the following main points were noted:-

 

(i)                 that paragraph 5 of the Draft Resolution should be interpreted as permitting flexibility in the internal governance structures of each college.  The intention was that the structures, once approved by the Senate, would be forwarded to the University Court, together with the Draft Resolution, for approval; and that paragraph 5 of the Draft Resolution provided for subsequent changes to the internal structures to be made by the Senate and the Court, after appropriate consultation, without the need for another Resolution;

 

(ii)                that while the ethos of the University was that decisions should be taken after a collegial and consentual process, ultimately decisions on College matters would be taken by the Head of College, who would be supported by a College Executive;

 

(iii)              confirmation, after a show of hands, that references to the various college committees meeting each term should in fact relate to each half-session, and that the proposals concerning the frequency that meetings should take place would be ordinarily the case, to provide some flexibility;

 

(iv)              that budgets would be allocated to Heads of College, who would determine those to be devolved to Heads of School;

 

(v)               that it would be up to Heads of School to decide the extent to which they might devolve management tasks to others in their School;

 

(vi)              confirmation that a Working Party would propose to the College Executive guidance for School governance within the College of Arts and Social Sciences;

 

(vii)            confirmation, following a vote, that meetings of the College Council should meet, ordinarily, at least twice per half-session rather than adoption of a formal amendment that College Councils should meet, ordinarily, at least once per half-session;

 

(viii)           recognition that students should be represented on each College Teaching and Learning Committee and that this had been omitted inadvertently from the proposal;

 

765.4At the closure of the discussion, the Senate voted in favour of the proposals, as summarised below; and agreed to approve, for its part, Resolution No <  > of 2003 [Reform of Academic Structure] and forward it to the University Court for approval, together with the Internal Governance Structures summarised below.

 

765.5   In approving the proposals, Senate agreed that each College would have the following:

 

 (i)     College Executive:  This group would meet, ordinarily, at least once a month and would be the locus for strategic planning and decision-making.  Each Executive would comprise the Head of College, the Heads of School, the Chair of Teaching & Learning Committee, the Chair of the Research & Commercialisation Committee, and the College Registrar.  Other staff would be invited to attend as required.

 

(ii)     College Council:  This group would meet, ordinarily, at least twice per half-session to enhance communications within Colleges.  It would include elected representatives from the academic constituencies and representation for non-academic members of staff, and students.  The proportion from each constituency would be determined by each College, following appropriate consultation.  The Council would review, advise and inform College academic planning.

 

(iii)     College Forum:  This group would meet, ordinarily, at least once a year and would comprise all members of staff of the College.  The Forum would facilitate communication and open discussion on issues affecting the College and its staff.

 

(iv)     Research & Commercialisation Committee:  The Research & Commercialisation Committee would meet, ordinarily, at least twice per half-session and the Chair of the Committee would be a member of the College Executive.  The remit would include RAE planning and direction, prioritisation of research, preparation of bids for internal and external resources, directing research opportunities and monitoring and reviewing research and commercialisation performance.

 

(v)     Teaching & Learning Committee:  The Teaching & Learning Committee would meet, ordinarily, at least twice per half-session and the Chair would be a member of the College Executive.  The remit would include College-wide responsibility for course and programme academic planning, reviewing current provision, student recruitment and retention, and quality assurance and quality enhancement and related matters.  The membership would include student representation.

 

765.6   In addition to the above, Senate noted that each College may establish Sub-Committees to address issues such as IT and libraries and ad hoc working groups and committees to deal with specific issues as required.  Senate also noted the following:-

 

(i)                 that there would be six Schools in the College of Arts & Social Sciences:  Business School; School of Law; School of Social Science; School of Education; School of Language & Literature; and School of Divinity, History & Philosophy;

 

(ii)                that there would be four Schools in the College of Life Sciences & Medicine:  School of Medicine; School of Medical Sciences; School of Biological Sciences; and School of Psychology;

 

(iii)              that in the College of Physical Sciences, academic activity would be arranged in two divisions:  (i) Engineering & Physical Sciences School; and (ii) Geosciences School.  The divisions would be led by Heads of School who would have overall line management responsibility for staff as well as accountability for budgetary issues.  In addition, the College would establish a graduate school.

 

 

REPORT FROM THE UNIVERSITY COURT

(1 July and 16 September 2003)

 

 

766.1   The Senate noted the following actions taken by the University Court at its meetings of 1 July and 16 September 2003.

 

1.  Colleges Proposal

 

766.2   The Senate noted that the Court had approved a paper to introduce a College Structure, which had been endorsed by Senate at its meeting of 18th June.

 

2.  Draft Resolution No     of 2003

[Reform of Academic Structure]

 

766.3   The Senate noted that the Court, for its part, approved the draft Resolution No    of 2003 [Reform of Academic Structure] and agreed to forward it to Senate and to the General Council and to make it generally available in terms of Section 6 of the Universities (Scotland Act) 1966.

3.  University Committees: Remits and Compositions

 

766.4   The Senate noted that the Court had approved a series of amendments to the remits and compositions of joint committees of Court and Senate in light of the establishment of Colleges.

 

4.  Resolution No    of 2003

[Code of Practice on Student Discipline]

 

766.5   The Senate noted that the Court had received from Senate the draft Resolution No    of 2003 [Code of Practice  on Student Discipline]. The Senate noted that the Court had approved the draft Resolution and had agreed to  forward it to the General Council and to make it generally available in terms of  Section 6 of the Universities (Scotland Act) 1966.

 

5.  Procedures for Dealing with Allegations of Plagiarism

Against Graduates of the University

 

766.6   The Senate noted that the Court had received from Senate the Procedures for Dealing with Allegations of Plagiarism Against Graduates of the University and had  approved the Procedures.

 

6.  Race Equality Plan

 

766.7   The Senate noted that the Court had noted the Senate’s amendments to the Race Equality Plan, and that these had been incorporated in the approved Plan.

 

 

REPORT FOR THE UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE ON TEACHING AND LEARNING

 

767.     The Senate noted that the Convener of the University Committee on Teaching and Learning (UCTL), after consultation with the Conveners of the Academic Standards Committees and Undergraduate Programme Committees and the Heads of College, had approved, on behalf of the UCTL, revised forms and procedures for course and programme approval.  These would be implemented for the 2003/04 Planning Cycle after consideration at a meeting of Heads of School on 9 October, at which further proposals concerning a review of the University’s Quality Assurance procedures would be discussed.

 

REPORT FROM THE ACADEMIC STANDARDS COMMITTEES

 

1.  General Regulations for Postgraduate Qualifications

 

768.1   The Senate approved a change to the General Regulations for Postgraduate Qualifications, Schedule A – General Regulations for Research Degrees, as under:

 

            To the end of Regulation 1 add “, appropriately designated”.

 

2.  New and Discontinued Courses and Programmes

 

768.2   The Senate noted that the Academic Standards Committees, on the recommendation of the relevant Faculties, had approved changes to the list of courses and programmes available as under, subject where indicated to resolution of queries with individuals Schools and Departments:

 

(A)                INDIVIDUAL DEGREE AND DIPLOMA COURSES (UNDERGRADUATE)

 

Accountancy

 

Introduction of a new level 3 course: ‘General Essay in Accounting’.

 

Introduction of new level 4 courses: ‘Derivatives and Treasury Management’; ‘Empirical Methods in Finance’ (for 2004/05).

 

Withdrawal of the course: AC3532.

Anthropology

 

Withdrawal of the course: AT4002.

 

Celtic

 

Introduction of a new level 2 course: ‘From Redshanks to Romantics: Scottish Gaeldom’s Interaction with her Neighbours 1540 – 1763’.

 

Chemistry

 

Introduction of a new level 3 course: ‘Topics in Biology for Chemistry Students’

 

Curriculum Studies

 

Withdrawal of courses: CR1001; CR1002; CR1003; CR1004; CR1005; CR1006; CR1007; CR2001; CR2002; CR2003; CR2004; CR2005; CR2006; CR2007; CR2008; CR2009; CR2010; CR2011; CR2012; CR2013; CR3001; CR3002; CR3003; CR3004; CR3005; CR3006; CR3007; CR3008; CR3009; CR3010; CR3011; CR3045; CR3046; CR3047.

 

Divinity

 

Introduction of new level 3 courses: ‘Citizenship: Theological Perspectives on Participating in Society’; ‘Understanding Islam: An Anthropological Perspective’.

 

Withdrawal of courses: DR4042 and DR4538.

 

Educational Studies

 

Withdrawal of courses; ED1001; ED1002; ED1003; ED1012; ED1013; ED1014; ED2001; ED2002; ED2003; ED2019; ED2020; ED3002; ED3003; ED3016; ED3017.

 

Film Studies

 

Introduction of a new level 4 course: ‘Comedian Comedy’.

 

Geography

 

Withdrawal of the course: GG3521

 

Geology

 

Withdrawal of the course: GL2507

 

History

 

Introduction of a new level 3 course: ‘Historical Research for Visiting Students’.

 

Key Learning

 

Introduction of new level 1 courses: ‘Professional Ethics’; ‘Special Project in Philosophy’; ‘Philosophy for Schools’.

 

Introduction of new level 2 courses: ‘ French Language and Society 1’; ‘French Language and Society 2’.

 

Introduction of new level 3 courses: ‘Tutoring Online Courses’; ‘Designing Online Courses’.

 

Land Economy

 

Introduction of a new level 3 course: ‘The Changing Countryside’ (from 2004/05).

 

Introduction of new level 4 courses: ‘Applied Environmental Regulation’ (from 2004/05); ‘Integrated Environmental Management’.

 

Withdrawal of courses: LE3020; LE3025 (from 2004/05); LM3003; LM3901; LM3701 (from 2004/05).

 

Management Studies

 

Introduction of new level 3 courses: ‘Industrial Democracy and Employee Participation’; ‘Understanding and Managing Behaviour in Organisations’; ‘Integrated Marketing Communications’.

 

Introduction of new level 4 courses: ‘Industrial Democracy and Employee Participation’; ‘Understanding and Managing Behaviour in Organisations’; ‘Integrated Marketing Communications’.

 

Mathematical Sciences

 

Introduction of a new level 3 course: ‘Survival Statistics and Actuarial and Medical Applications’

 

Withdrawal of the course: MX3525

 

Psychology

 

Introduction of a new level 3 course: ‘Neuropsychology’ (replaces PS3010)

 

Sociology

 

Introduction of new level 4 courses: ‘Internet and Society’; ‘Body Work and Body Workers’.

 

 

(B)                NEW AND WITHDRAWN CERTIFICATE AND DEGREE PROGRAMMES (UNDERGRADUATE)

 

Degree of Master of Arts

 

Introduction of new Single Honours programme: ‘Environmental Management’.

 

Withdrawal of Designated programme: Rural Development.

 

Withdrawal of Single Honours programmes: Countryside and Environmental Management; Rural Development (from 2004/05 entry).

 

Degree of Bachelor of Science

 

            Withdrawal of Honours programme: ‘Countryside & Environmental Management’.

 

Withdrawal of Designated programme: ‘Countryside & Environmental Management’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(C)                POSTGRADUATE COURSES

 

Celtic

 

Introduction of a new level 5 course: ‘Kings, Poets and Goddesses: Medieval Irish Prose Tales’.

 

Computing Science

 

Introduction of new level 5 courses: ‘Project in Information Technology’ (replacing CS5929); ‘Introductory Programming in Java’ (replacing CS5021); ‘Systems Analysis and Design’ (replacing CS5034); ‘Introduction to Knowledge-Based Systems’ (replacing CS5522); ‘Data Structures and Algorithms’ (replacing CS5524); ‘Human Computer Interaction’ (replacing CS5531); ‘Enterprise Computing’ (replacing CS5528).

 

Divinity

 

Introduction of a new level 5 course: ‘Pastoral Care and Counselling; Diploma in Pastoral Studies Fieldwork Placement’.

 

Withdrawal of the course: DR5536

 

Education

 

Introduction of new level 5 courses: ‘Work-based Project Planning’; Work-based Project Implementation and Reporting’; Work-based Project 1’; Work–based Project 2’.

 

English

 

Introduction of a new level 5 course: ‘Walter Scott and his World’.

 

Geography & Environment

 

Introduction of a new level 5 course: ‘Environmental Hydrology’.

 

History

 

Introduction of a new level 5 course: ‘Scotland and Ireland in the Middle Ages’.

 

Land Economy

 

Introduction of new level 5 courses: ‘Rural Business Management’; ‘Land Economics’; ‘Planning, Policy & Governance’; ‘Appraisal’; ‘Land Use Policy’ (replacing LE5512); ‘Rural Policy & Practice’ (replacing LE5518); ‘Planning Theory & Practice’; ‘Plan & Strategy Making’; ‘Contemporary Planning Challenges’; ‘Land Use Management’ (replacing LE5511 and LE5519); ‘Economic Development & Regeneration’; ‘Special Study’ (for 2004/05); ‘Urban Property Development’ (for 2004/05).

 

Withdrawal of the courses: LE5009; LE5512.

 

Law

 

Introduction of new level 5 courses: ‘Introduction to Patents’; ‘Trade Marks’; ‘Patent Procedures’; ‘Copyright, Design and Allied Rights’; ‘A Constitution for Europe?’; ‘Law for Business’.

 

 

 

Politics & International Relations

 

Introduction of new level 5 courses: ‘Qualitative Research Methodologies in Political Science/IR’; ‘Quantitative Methodologies in Political Science/IR’.

 

Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies

 

Introduction of a new level 5 course: ‘Interior Worlds: Scottish and Irish Migrant Testimony in the Last Two Centuries’.

 

(D)                POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMMES

 

Business School

 

Withdrawal of programmes: MBA (part-time); MBA (Educational Management)

 

Environmental and Occupational Medicine

 

Withdrawal of MSc/PgCert Occupational Health

 

Land Economy

 

Introduction of new programmes; MLE/PgDip; ‘Spatial Development and Planning’ (for 2004/05); ‘Development and Regeneration’ (for 2004/05).

 

 

UNIVERSITY COMMITTEES : REMITS AND COMPOSITIONS

 

769.     The Senate approved, for its part, amendments to the remits and compositions of a range of  committees in the light of the establishment of Colleges (copy filed with the principal copy of the Minutes).

 

UNIVERSITY POSTGRADUATE OFFICER

 

770.     The Senate approved the appointment of Ms A-M Slater as a Postgraduate Officer for Law and a member of the Academic Standards Committee (Postgraduate) from 1 October 2003 – 31 January 2004 vice Dr H Lardy.

 

DATES OF TERMS

 

771.      The Senate approved the Dates of Terms for 2004-2005 and, provisionally, those for the sessions to 2013-2014.

 

 

AWARD OF ENDOWED PRIZES AND MEDALS 2002-03

 

772.      The Senate noted that the List of the Award of University Prizes and Medals for the session 2002-03 was available at www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/prizes.hti

 

UNIVERSITY STATISTICAL REPORT 2002-03

 

772.1   The Senate noted that the University Statistical Report for 2002-03 was now available and that members who wished to receive a copy should contact the Senate Office (extension 2039).

 

772.2   The Senate also noted that any member wishing to raise a matter on the Report for discussion at the next regular meeting should submit it, in writing, to the Academic Registrar by 5.00 p.m. on Monday 10 November 2004.

 

NOVEMBER GRADUATION CEREMONIES

 

773.      The Senate noted the following:-

 

(i)                 that the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters would be conferred on Mr Louis de Bernières and Mr Callum Innes at a ceremony in the Mitchell Hall on Friday 28 November 2003 at 3.00 p.m. In addition, First and Higher Degrees in Arts & Social Sciences, Education, Divinity and Medicine would be conferred. Professor Alan Spence would promote Mr Louis de Bernières and Dr Louise Bourdua would promote Mr Innes.  The Chancellor would preside.  Dr Roberts would deliver the Graduation Address. 

 

(ii)                that the Honorary Degree of Master of the University would be conferred on Mr Graham Hunter and Mr George Ross at a ceremony in the Mitchell Hall on Saturday 29 November 2003 at 11.00 a.m.  In addition, First and Higher Degrees in Science, Engineering and Law would be conferred.  Professor Roddy Paisley would promote Mr Hunter and Mrs Margaret Ross would promote Mr Ross.  The Chancellor would preside. Mr Hunter would deliver the Graduation Address.

 

GRADUATIONS IN ABSENTIA

 

774.     Senate noted that copies of the list of those qualified to receive degrees and diplomas who have applied to had them conferred in absentia may be obtained from the Senate Office of the Registry. [See Appendix to Minutes of June 2004].

 

CITY OF ABERDEEN EDUCATIONAL ENDOWMENTS SCHEME

 

775.     The Senate noted that Dr S P Townsend had been appointed as a Trustee of the City of Aberdeen Educational Endowments Scheme vice Dr Milton.